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This is what was proposed - 16-storeys, but not ethereal  like the images make out to be.

This is what was proposed – 16-storeys, but not ethereal like the image makes the tower out to be. Peer Review said the proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited shade trees …. a corporate image with little amenity.

Marrickville Councillors knocked back this development proposal, which many residents, including myself, believed would have killed Marrickville & set a precedent for many more tower developments.

I have cherry-picked some of the more interesting items in the ‘Post Gateway Report on Station Street Precinct Planning Proposal.’  It’s a large document that makes interesting reading & you can download it here (Item 27) –

In essence the planning proposal for 2-18 Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue Marrickville sought to amend the Marrickville Local Environment Plan (MLEP) to change the zoning, floor/space ratio, as well as increase building height limits from 8-storeys to a whopping 16-storeys & develop 120 units & approx 510-sq-metres of retail floor space.

The developer also wanted to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (where they give something in return for consent) & this was to be a small plaza/courtyard area under the awning of the building & part of the above ground access to the railway station.  It was suggested this will be a great place for the community to meet & perhaps hold markets.

I have taken some of the comments from my post on the Council Meeting of 17th September 2013 & added them below.  To read all of what was said see –

The Architect said at the September 2013 Council Meeting, “At the moment, it’s the hole of Marrickville.”

The speaker representing the owner said, “This masterplan provides new public space.  It’s an income providing asset, well-designed public space & a landmark building.  It does come at a cost of increased height to offset the public plaza.  Solar access are generally non-issues & no different to 8 storey building currently allowed.  An 8-storey building is not in the interests of the Marrickville community.”

The then Mayor, Clr Macri was particularly keen on the development saying,  “We shape the buildings & the buildings shape us. …. This building delivers great things for Marrickville. It’s a dynamic, inviting & exciting open space.  I want to see this happen.” 

The Proposal was sent to the Department of Planning & Infrastructure for a Gateway determination.  This was approved in December 2013.  The proposal was also sent for Peer Review & to Transport NSW.

Transport for NSW had significant concerns with the current draft concept plan.  Some of their concerns were –

  • Ease of access, lack of accessible car parking spaces close to the station, safe, logical access for all commuters, access for emergency service & maintenance vehicles, management of pedestrian thoroughfares & adequate management of stormwater.
  • They also found that the concept plan encroached in TfNSW land & this has not been consented to.
  • Importantly, the raised plaza is incompatible with the proposed Marrickville Railway Station upgrade.
  • TfNSW has also committed to funding public domain improvement works in Station Street, which may not be available if the raised plaza goes ahead.

Peer Review –

  • The area is too small to create a successful two level plaza approach.
  • Problems with Australian standards for access.
  • Regarding retail space – “Coupled with large building undercroft space, this would create an ambiguous space with negative microclimate & amenity issues.”
  • The proposal would likely create a windy space, lack of shade due to limited canopy trees, need for more soft landscaping & inclusion of seats & bicycle parking.
  • Security & safety concerns of commuters.

Also –

  • Suggested substantial amendments to “remove blank walls, dead spaces & excessive tiered stairs.”

Further –

  • Proposed building is over-scaled, overbearing & out of character.
  • No justification of a landmark building.  “The very notion of a landmark building is contestable in general.  ….the question should be asked; a landmark for what purpose?”
  • “The overall rationale is questionable.”
  • The plaza would “present a corporate image with little amenity.”
  • Location of public parking is inconvenient, poor passive surveillance & likely to be considered unsafe.

Also –

  • The proposed design is an overdevelopment of the site.
  • Significant visual & overshadowing impacts.
  • Public space compromised by sloped areas, stairs & building structure.
  • Laneway is too narrow & unsafe.
  • Plaza would be in shade for most of winter.
  • Lack of public benefit of a ‘memorial park’ at 2 Leofrene Street, as it is small & would be overshadowed by the building.
  • Height, bulk & scale would dominant views & is out of character.

I was not present, but received the following update from a resident who attended the Council Meeting.

“Attended the Council Meeting earlier this evening. [There were] three excellent speakers; Laura & Matt from Schwebel Street & Jeanette from Leofrene Avenue. The developers were in attendance, but did not speak.

Information from the Business papers follows;

Based on the findings (from Peer Reviews & Council Officers) & recommendations of the Peer reviews and with the benefit of the final plans for the upgrade of Marrickville Station this report recommends a revised option for the maximum development potential of the land.

Key features of the [Council’s] preferred option are:

  • Allow amalgamation of Nos 2-18 Station St, the eastern part of Station Street & 1 Leofrene Avenue & require the dedication of a 6m wide rear lane adjacent to No 3 Leofrene St
  • Retain Council ownership of the balance of Station St road reserve.
  • Upgrade the public domain of the existing street rather than construct a raised plaza structure.
  • No encroachment of the building onto or over the Council-owned reserve, &
  • Limit the building to a maximum height of 9 storeys.

Recommendation was that Council requests the proponent submit an amended planning proposal for Council’s consideration prior to public exhibition that addresses the issues & is consistent with the preferred option outlined in this report.

The Mayor [Haylen] added an amendment, which was related to integrating the station upgrade.

Greens South Ward Councillor David Leary moved an amendment that the building should be within the MLEP 2011.

The debate then spiraled downward. Clr Woods talked about Process.  Clr Gardiner

Clr Gardener had a go at the Greens for not voting for the LEP & now trying to use it & had a go at all those people who use social media to say bad things about him.

Clr Macri & Clr Tsardoulias talked about process & at length about how the Save Station Street group [a local residents action group] were all Greens stooges & they didn’t think it was right that people didn’t say nice things about them on Social Media, when they sent the proposal off to Gateway rather than follow Council Officers recommendation that Peer Reviews be conducted BEFORE sending to Gateway process.

Clr Hanna talked about how he talks to residents all the time and had been fined for speaking on his mobile about the development whilst driving.”

The votes supporting Clr Leary’s amendment to require resubmitted plans to comply strictly with the Marrickville LEP: Clrs Leary, Phillips, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Against: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.

The votes supporting Council’s recommendation: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Woods, Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardiner Gardener, Tyler, Hanna & Macri.  Against: Clrs Leary & Phillips.  Recommendation passed.

Image of the completed Marrickville Railway Station Upgrade by Transport NSW

Image of the completed Marrickville Railway Station Upgrade by Transport NSW. Note the shadows on Station Street where there are currently no trees. Perhaps they plan to plant street trees in this location.

Some good news for residents.  It’s finally happening.  Transport NSW has released the plans for the upgrade of Marrickville Railway Station.  The works will take 3-years with completion expected in 2016.

I had a look through the document & like the following points –

  • This station will become accessible to everyone with the inclusion of two lifts to service both platforms.
  • There will be a family-accessible toilet.
  • There will be anti-throw screens, improved lighting & CCTV to cut down the risk of crime.
  • The 8 Brushbox & Crepe myrtle trees along the concourse on Platform 2 will be retained if possible.
  • Existing vegetation, except for the trees near the stairs & the street tree on Illawarra Road, will be retained with further landscaping design done later.
  • They will retain ground-level access to Station Street.
  • Space will be given for sheltered bike racks in area covered by CCTV or high passive surveillance.
  • The bottom part of Station Street will be a shared pedestrian zone.
  • They are planning to reuse up to 90% of waste from site preparation & construction to prevent waste going to landfill.
  • They intend to ensure 100% of spoil material is beneficially used.
  • There will be waterless urinals. I don’t know how that works, but it sounds good.
  • There will be taps that cannot be left running.
  • There will be naturally ventilated buildings.
  • 95% of timber used is recycled or Forest Stewardship Council Certified.
  • They are looking to how it can be a market on the weekend.  I assume this is Station Street.
  • They will provide shade with vegetation on the concourse, platform, parking areas & pedestrian pathways.
  • They will provide signage about the heritage of the area.
  • They will investigate tree-planting opportunities in Station Street.
  • Platforms will be extended up to 14 & 19-metres, so plenty of room to add beauty.
  • They will be creating a full archive of the current station, including photographs for future generations.

I’m not fond of  –

  • Tree removal on Platform 2 – a group of trees at the western end of the platform & one on Illawarra Road are to be removed.  However, to do the works, these trees will have to be removed.
  • There are to be up to 6 taxi spaces on Station Street. There is a Taxi Stand on Byrnes Street next to the old RSL space that is next to the railway line – 170-metres away.  To put another taxi stand on Station Street will negatively impact on the availability of parking that helps the shops & cafes in the immediate area.
  • The dark grey colour of the buildings.

Of interest –

  • Traffic along Illawarra Road outside the station in 2005 was 17,500 per day.  Anyone who lives or drives here knows that traffic has significantly increased since then.

Transport NSW has prepared an interesting & very comprehensive report covering such diverse topics as climate change, biodiversity, local heritage & Aboriginal heritage should anything be found.  You can download the report here –

There are numerous other documents for those who want a fuller picture.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 20th May 2013.  Railway Station upgrades are few & far between, so it is in the community’s best interest to put in a submission regarding any concerns you may have.

Transport NSW image of the upgrade seen from Station Street.

Transport NSW image of the upgrade seen from Station Street.

Transport NSW image of the Railway Station from the shopping strip on the southern side of Illawarra Road.

Transport NSW image of the Railway Station from the shopping strip on the southern side of Illawarra Road.




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